German power giant EON to axe 500 jobs in Britain

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German power giant EON said Thursday it would axe up to 500 jobs in Britain out of a total workforce there of 12,000 following the sale earlier this year of its British power grid business.

EON said in a statement it was "looking to reduce numbers in our UK support functions... following the sale of Central Networks in March."

The German giant sold its British electric grid to US group Pennsylvania Power & Light for 4.7 billion euros ($6.3 billion).

"While I'm very aware that this will be a difficult time for our colleagues, it is our aim to keep uncertainty to a minimum and to achieve these redundancies by voluntary means," said Paul Golby, head of EON's British unit.

"We had to undertake a deep and rigorous review of how much money we spend in order to ensure we keep costs as low as possible for our customers, become a more agile organisation and build a sustainable business in the UK," Golby said.

While it was too early to say exactly where the jobs would be axed, most of them would be at EON UK's head office in Coventry and to a lesser extent at support functions in Nottingham, he added.

© 2011 AFP

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